Together: Vygotsky, connections and the tipping point

Connecting in a small town… It is a small town: heavy on character, light on wireless technology. I had anticipated sketchy internet access – but there is none. I hope you appreciate that I had to sacrifice and come to an internet café to post this.

Now I am really suffering: a dark coffee, a delectable pumpkin and white chocolate scone, and free wireless.

I am not alone, Craig and H are with me and we look like a trio of techno-oddity-transplants from the city.

Either that – or we are engaging in some kind of Battleship tournament. A neon sign would be less obvious.

Together… We are at The Cabin – camping. Well it’s kinda’ camping, maybe more like… low impact camping. But anyway, we are unplugged and the boys (referring jointly to Craig and H) are doing activities – together stuff – that both of them love.

At this moment they are discussing and planning and perhaps even scheming and problem solving to get a fire going in the pit. They are excited because they have brought The Fat Can. This disgusting fuel/fire-starter they discovered is contained in an empty tin can and consists of the fat of bacon and other things, collected over time and stored in the fridge.

I froze it overnight before packing it into the cooler – because I didn’t want it to spill or leak or, I don’t know… combust??!?

We will make Smores tonight – maybe even before dinner. We have marshmallows and graham wafers – but I think we will have to improvise and use Easter eggs because I forgot to buy chocolate.

We will take Finnegan for a walk in the woods, because it is sunny right now, and that could very well be short-lived. If you don’t like the weather here – wait 20 minutes – it will likely change. We will all laugh and notice that Finn actually seems to be smiling – He has so much freedom here. We all do.

Maybe Craig will bring out the old guitar we keep up here and we might sing a couple of favourites around the campfire before bed.

Vygotsky’s premise that children learn and are socialized (learn about the cultural and social expectations of their society) through their relationships with the competent adults in their world is critical to understanding what our child needs.  It is through the mentor/apprenticeship relationships that we transmit our values and we are able to share our own experiences and process as a method of scaffolding and modeling problem-solving and cognitive strategies for H.

Ultimately, what it boils down to is that it is all about the relationship.

This is the tipping point for our kid…


30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2011)

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
This entry was posted in Autism, bandwidth, Communicate, connections, Humour, mentor/apprentice, Parent, relationships, scaffolding, the tipping point, Vygotsky, wireless and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Together: Vygotsky, connections and the tipping point

  1. CG says:

    Beautifully stated… I appreciate your inclusion of Vygotsky. We all need more of that!


  2. Pingback: “Whisper me, Mom”: Autism and Supporting Development | Thirty Days of Autism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.